The dream of touring in a turboprop of one’s own is not so far-fetched as it may seem. Words Colin Goodwin and photos Philip Whiteman.
The development and early years of a legendary aircraft.
The Cessna Caravan business turboprop aircraft seems like it’s been around forever- but surprisingly- it’s only 33 years since the first aircraft rolled off Wichita’s production line in August 1984. Now this multi-role aircraft- which operates in 68 countries around the world- has become indispensable. It was conceived at just the right time and has never looked back since that first Federal Express order. In fact, as of this writing- aircraft number 1-522 had just rolled off the Wichita production line.Continue reading A Brief History of the Cessna Caravan
As one might intuitively guess, maintaining floatplanes and amphibians – particularly those which routinely operate commercial charters or scheduled services and need to provide very high levels of operational reliability – is a rather more specialized and MRO-intensive business than is maintaining aircraft which fly only from runways on land.Continue reading Maintaining Floatplanes
The Ag-Cat is a standout amongst the best reason composed horticultural airship yet assembled and has been in practically constant creation since 1959.
THUNDER BAY – AVIATION – Northern communities increasingly depend on a solid supply chain to get their food, fuel and medical supplies. Climate change and increasingly extreme changes in winter weather are creating problems for the winter road networks.
When Piper Aircraft announced its plans to build a big-cabin turboprop in late 1977, time was of the essence – only, we didn’t know it. It took another three years to get the airplane certificated, during which time the robust state of the general aviation manufacturing economy had begun to unravel. The Cheyenne III’s main competition, the Beech Super King Air 200, introduced in 1974, had an established head start, and industry sales volume was no longer the rising road to riches during the 1980s that it had been in the 1970s.
Air Tractor is a leading manufacturer of purpose-built aircraft for agricultural, firefighting and a variety of utility applications. From North, South and Central America, to Australia, Indonesia, and China to Spain, Italy, Croatia and Africa, Air Tractor aircraft can be found in more than 30 countries around the world and are supported by a global network of Air Tractor dealers.
When the press release on Cessna’s new twin turboprop came pixeling into my inbox Tuesday morning, my first reaction was: a new skydiving airplane! Woo-hoo! This further proves that self-interest easily overpowers rational thought, but in a more sober moment, I realized that in aviation as in everything else, history repeats.
Pilatus’s new PC-24 may be taking centre stage at this year’s show, but the Swiss airframer is also keen to promote its long-established single-engined sibling, the PC-12NG, as a worthy contender for the spotlight.
The all-metal aircraft is the best-selling pressurised executive turboprop-single with over 1,500 units delivered since its introduction in 2004 – including a healthy 91 units in 2016.
Pilatus says it is now exploring numerous growth opportunities around the world for the 10-seat aircraft “to sustain its sales leadership position”.
Ignaz Gretener, vice-president of Pilatus Aircraft’s general aviation business unit, says the bulk of the sales are from repeat customers and word-of-mouth recommendations. “We constantly listen to their feedback and have a continuous improvement process in place to ensure we provide them with a reliable and efficient aircraft that they can depend on for many years of operation,” he says.
While the North American market is home to over 60% of the PC-12 fleet, the Stans-headquartered company sees “more untapped potential for its unique capabilities” in South America, Europe, and Asia. “We are cultivating relationships to grow the Pilatus footprint in those regions,” says Gretener.
Since the first example of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-powered PC-12 was introduced, Pilatus says it has continuously improved and enhanced the basic airframe, incorporating gross weight increases, integrated avionics systems, higher cruise speeds, modern interior designs, reduced maintenance requirements, and airframe life extension programmes.
The current model, launched in 2015, features: a Honeywell Primus Apex integrated avionics suite with Smartview synthetic vision; a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P engine; a maximum range of 1,845nm (3,417km), cruise speed with four passengers of 285kt (528km/h) and a stall speed of 67kt.
“Our biggest competitor is pre-owned PC-12s and these aircraft are really holding their value right now,” says Gretener. “We still see a lot of potential for the PC-12, and we are excited by new technologies that our engineers and suppliers are offering us in this segment of the market.”
By Mark Kolanowski of NYCAviation.
The evening before media day at the Rhode Island Airshow was progressing like any other: Dinner was being cooked, camera batteries were charging, lenses were out awaiting cleaning and a blower was at the ready to clear pesky dust spots off sensors in anticipation for the photo opportunities in the morning. An unexpected phone call greatly raised the anticipation level for the show, as the public affairs representative for the Geico Skytypers asked if I would be interested in joining the team for a media/photo flight the following morning. An unexpected cancellation meant that the opportunity of a lifetime had just came up with my name on it, and provided I could watch a safety video that evening and promise to not wear high heels or flip flops, I’d be taking to the skies the following morning in a historic warbird.